Leone eligible for parole, but must complete tasks
State officials say that a New York man convicted of a hit-and-run accident which led to a police chase and assault on state police officers in 2010 is eligible for parole, but when he is released it up to him.
Robert Charles Leone, 33, of Vestal, N.Y., was convicted of four charges, including fleeing the scene of an accident and simple assault stemming from the incident and is currently serving a sentence of up to 48 months in the Bradford County jail.
Author and blogger Larry Hohol released a video on the Internet which he claims shows that Leone was a victim of police brutality by Pennsylvania State Police after he was stopped following a police chase on March 8, 2010 after he fled the scene of an accident in North Towanda in which he struck an occupied vehicle.
Among the claims in Hohol's video is that Leone was denied parole multiple times to prevent him from filing a civil lawsuit against the officers before the statute of limitations expires.
Responding to Tuesday's Daily Review article about Leone, Bradford County Probation Department Chief Probation Officer Tom Schuster offered an official statement:
"Robert Leone was sentenced on Oct. 4, 2010 on four convicted crimes to a total aggregated sentence of 16 months minimum to a maximum of 48 months," he said. "The court ordered the sentence to be served in the Bradford County Correctional Facility. Although sentenced to BCCF, neither the sentencing judge (Jeffrey Smith), nor this department, has any jurisdiction over the case's sentence. Under PA law, if an inmate's maximum sentence is 24 months or greater, excluding DUI, the sentence falls under the jurisdiction of the PA Board of Probation and Parole."
Board of Probation and Parole spokesman Leo Dunn told The Review that Leone was first considered for parole on June 1, 2011, but was denied parole due to a need to take part in institutional programming, his level of risk to the community, a negative recommendation by Judge Smith and Bradford County Jail Warden Donald Stewart and his refusal to accept responsibility for his actions.
On March 16, Leone was granted parole after it was determined that he had satisfactorily completed institutional programming, received a positive recommendation from the Department of Corrections, exhibited good behavior and had taken responsibility for his actions.
However, since Leone has a retainer on him from Broome County, N.Y. for violation of parole, he remains in Bradford County jail until he can present an acceptable home plan, which would demonstrate that he has found an adequate living and occupational situation. Leone, who has thus far not presented such a plan, would also be required to report to his parole officer, refrain from the use of alcohol or drugs, submit to random drug testing and submit to outpatient mental health treatment.